Opposition steps up battle in Diet against ‘conspiracy bill’

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The main opposition Democratic Party submitted Tuesday a censure motion against a upper house committee chairman for his “heavy-handed” stance to put through a controversial bill to punish the planning of serious crimes.

The ruling camp plans to vote down the motion Wednesday against Kozo Akino, the chairman of the House of Councillors Judicial Affairs Committee. Deliberations for the “conspiracy bill” at the committee were shelved for Tuesday.

Given the tight deliberation schedule for the contentious bill, an idea has been floated within the ruling parties to extend the parliament session for a short period beyond June 18 when the current session is slated to end, the parties’ lawmakers said.

In submitting the censure motion, the Democratic Party criticized Akino, saying it “cannot overlook his forcible management of the committee by ignoring the voices of opposition parties and people.”

The chairman is “seeking to ram through a bill that could threaten freedom of thought without sufficient debate,” it said.

The move followed Akino’s executive decision to invite an assistant to Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda to the committee meeting. Kaneda has drawn criticism for his insufficient explanation over the bill during lower house deliberations.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, reiterated readiness to seek the passage of the bill during the current Diet session, saying the government “will make efforts to offer a thorough explanation.”

Abe’s government says Japan needs the bill to revise the law on organized crime to protect the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics from possible attacks. It also says the bill is a prerequisite to ratify the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which Tokyo signed in 2000.

But opposition parties claim it could boost police power and eventually infringe on personal privacy and other rights. Three similar bills have failed to pass the Diet due to such concerns.

Opponents, including legal experts, argue that the planned legislation could violate the Constitution as it could penalize people whom authorities regard as plotting offenses.

In addition to the conspiracy bill, the government and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito party are also aiming, during the current Diet session, to enact a bill to adopt tighter punishments on sex crimes.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party Diet affairs chief Kazunori Yamanoi said the party is considering submitting a motion of no-confidence in the Abe Cabinet over allegations involving Kake Educational Institution, which is run by a close friend of the prime minister.

Documents have been found that could indicate Abe used his influence to allow the school operator to open a veterinary medicine department in a government-designated deregulation zone.

“The prime minister is refusing to allow the truth to come out. The crime of the government’s cover-up and politics to give preferential treatment to his friends has deepened further,” Yamanoi said.

© KYODO

Source : Japan Today

Sagawa Express introduces 4-day workweek in Tokyo, Yamanashi

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Sagawa Express Co has introduced a four-day workweek for new recruits in Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefecture to improve working conditions as it aims to secure a stable workforce, company officials said Tuesday.

Amid a serious shortage of drivers, Japan’s leading door-to-door parcel delivery provider Yamato Transport Co is also considering launching three holidays a week for its drivers, a Yamato official said.

In April, Sagawa sought new recruits in the two areas seeking to work four days a week. In introducing the system, the company adopted flexible working so employees can work 10 hours per day instead of 8.

After weighing the impact of the change, the company will decide whether to extend the system to other areas and employees, the officials said.

Sagawa has around 30,000 regular and contract drivers, but it is facing difficulty securing more.

Under the new system, the company will allow new employees to work at other workplaces on holidays, hoping to recruit people who are willing to start their own businesses in the future or those who need to support family business.

At rival Yamato, which has around 60,000 regular and contract drivers, the management and the company’s labor union are holding talks on whether to introduce a four-day workweek, the official said.

Transport companies are not the only ones facing labor shortages.

Internet company Yahoo Japan Corp and Fast Retailing Co, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, have also introduced four-day workweeks to reduce long working hours.

The introduction of shorter working weeks has reportedly produced positive effects, such as preventing employees from leaving jobs to raise children or care for elderly parents.

© KYODO

Source : Japan Today

Qatar is a sovereign state, Sirs!

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06 Jun 2017 – 8:15

Dr. Khalid Al-Shafi/Editor-in-Chief

The official statements issued yesterday by brotherly countries of the GCC at a time when people were preparing for a new day of Ramadan, severing official ties with Qatar and closing their land, sea and air borders on Qataris and residents, were not strange for us. They asked their citizens to leave Qatar within a few days.

The concoction of accusations has become apparent in the past few days in the malicious media campaign being run by some hired media outlets (TVs, newspapers, websites and columnists) with a history of bias against Qatar.

Sorry to say that there exists nothing new in the statements and the accusations focused on general points with multiple and contradictory meanings which have made them confused and incoherent, unable to convince the people of the Gulf.

Their first conspiracy was the hacking of Qatar News Agency’s website and publishing a statement attributed to the Emir on some issues to achieve their pre-planned goals by creating a justification.

The people of the Gulf understand very well such ludicrous moves which were designed by hired hands paid to tell lies against Qatar and inflame emotions.

Internationally accepted diplomatic and ethical norms and rules demand waiting until the finalisation of results of investigation into the cyber attack on Qatar News Agency and there is already a team from the FBI probing the hacking incident and all other issues related to this could be addressed at the end of the investigation process.

But, people with false proofs and coordinated lies could not wait to see the results of the investigation and they started hurling untrue allegations and issued statements against Qatar.

The Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has stressed on more than one occasion that Qatar does not interfere in the internal affairs of any country, and also will not accept any interference in Qatar’s internal affairs.

We hope this message reaches those hired agents — that Qatar is a sovereign state and fully free to make its own decisions and no one can dictate to Qatar.

Qatar is a sovereign state, Sirs!

 

Source :  http://thepeninsulaqatar.com

Why are they mad at Qatar?

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06 Jun 2017 – 19:58

The hacking attack on QNA’s website and attributing false statements to the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is without an iota of doubt a cyber crime which was used by Saudi and Emirati-controlled media outlets to launch a predesigned assault against Qatar.

Immediately before this exercise, a smear campaign had been runing against Qatar with 13 different op-ed pieces appearing in the US press, according to a statement made by Qatar’s foreign minister.

The recklessly fast pace of developments as they were created by irresponsible media outlets of Saudi Arabia and UAE make one confuse on what is the real reason behind this crisis: Qatari support to Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood or its relation with Iran?

The aggressive media onslaught on Qatar and its timing, and the way it has been suddenly sparked following the visit of President Trump to Saudi Arabia are other points that are making observers think about the real reasons beyond what the media is repeatedly claiming.

The demands of the four countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) asking Qatar to “stop its support to terrorist organisations including Hamas and cut its ties with Iran” is an out-of-context request for which reasons are being explained here below.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that these countries are trying to impose such policies and measures for “unjustified” and “baseless” allegations.

Without any “regards to the nation’s sovereignty” this step is totally rejected by the Qatari government. The Qatar’s Foreign Ministry has described the move as an “intervention in its sovereignty” that was made “in coordination with Egypt, and the purpose is clear: The imposition of guardianship over the State” which is a clear violation of the sovereignty of Qatar as a state which is committed to the Charter of the GCC: “Qatar respects the sovereignty of other countries and carries out its duties in combating terrorism and extremism”.

What exactly these countries want is not clear enough yet as it is hard to understand that these countries have come to know within the last few days about Qatar’s relations with Iran or Hamas, or Al Jazeera or even Muslim Brotherhood, or even Hezbollah (with which Qatar reached a point of no return because of the Syrian crisis).

How can a country like UAE which has trade exchange with Iran to the tune of more than $6bn ask Qatar to sever its relations with Tehran? Qatar is not the only GCC country which has normal diplomatic relations with Iran rather other member states may have better and stronger ties with Iran than Qatar. Relations with Iran and Hamas and Al Jazeera are being used just as a cover for an unjustifiable measure and pre-planned agenda against Qatar.

How can Saudi Arabia sever its ties with Qatar on grounds to “protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”, while Qatari troops are guarding its Southern border with Yemen.

Just very recently, the Directorate of Moral Guidance at the Ministry of Defence of Qatar announced that “six members of the Qatari armed forces were injured in the course of their duty while defending the southern border of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. The Ministry added: “These injuries took place as the Qatari armed forces stationed in the southern border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were performing their continuing heroic duty along with their brethren to defeat enemy forces from the Kingdom”.

The most interesting fact is that the GCC citizens participation in the current crisis seems to be much milder compared to the crisis of 2014 where three GCC states had withdrawn their diplomatic missions from Doha. At that time the citizens had associated themselves with the huge rift but this time the ordinary GCC citizens were taken by surprise, due to the sudden spark and fast development of the crisis.

This time, the official media campaign are dominating the show because everything was pre-planned and being handled from the top circles to tarnish the image of Qatar. This fact was also noted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its statement issued yesterday outlining that “it is clear that the media campaign failed to convince public opinion in the region and in the Gulf countries in particular, which explains the continued escalation”.

It is ironic and sad to see countries like Maldives and Yemen’s-legitimate government ditching Qatar for whom Qatar fought in battlefields and lost some of its soldiers to defend their legitimacy. Now these countries too are aligning with those countries and have lost their good ties with Qatar for nothing but to please some officials.

Although the crisis unfolded at a pace no one was predicting . Observers were thinking that the Arab Gulf countries internal differences are traditionally settled by the inner diplomacy.
The new factor this time is Egypt’s involvement in perplexing internal dynamics of Gulf politics by hatching conspiracies against Qatar, which is a factor that can further complicate or at least delay the settlement of dispute.

Egypt not only wants to revenge from Qatar for considering current regime illegitimate but also does not want to see any regional or international role for Qatar. This group of countries want Qatar to see as a country lacking sovereignty and be a “dependant state”, a country in which they can move arbitrarily and this is what rejected absolutely and has never been accepted by the Qatari leadership and its people under any circumstances.

Finally it is wise to go back in this context to a Quranic verse: “It is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah know, and ye know not”. (2:216)

 

Source :  thepeninsulaqatar.com

China willing to cooperate in peaceful space exploration: Xi

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(Xinhua)    13:02, June 06, 2017

(Photo/CGTN)

BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a letter of congratulations to the Global Space Exploration Conference, which opened Tuesday in Beijing.

In his letter, Xi said China is willing to enhance cooperation with the international community in peaceful space exploration and development.

Hailing the achievements made in space exploration in the 20th century, Xi said progress in space science and technology will benefit people around the world in the future.

China has attached great importance to space exploration as well as innovation in space science and technology, the president said, noting that the country wants to use these achievements to create a better future for mankind.

He also expressed hope that the ongoing conference will promote space science development and international exchanges and cooperation.

 

Source : Xinhua